The Last Lecture

The Last Lecture

An injured lion still wants to roar:

The author got diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, but he was optimistic, he had hope he could pass it, however, he got the worst news ever, his most recent treatment stopped working, he had only a few months to live, he was already preparing for a lecture before he got this news, and instead of running away, he decided that he still wanted to give that lecture, and his last lecture had to be about life, not death.

The Elephant in the Room:

He finally got on the stage and started his lecture by saying that there is an elephant in every room, and the elephant in that room at that moment was his cancer, but the thing is, you can’t change this, you can’t just move the elephant, instead, you need to know how to respond to it.

The Parent Lottery:

Our author had the kind of childhood that you’d consider lucky, his mother was tough but also knew how to raise them well, his father was always patient and understood them, his father was his hero, one day, he wanted to paint all over the walls of his room, he wanted to paint his thoughts, when he explained that to his father, his father understood and agreed, and now, whenever he goes back to his childhood house, he remembers how his father understood his needs and how his mother, even though she was tough, she allowed him to do the things he liked, his father died at the age of 86 by leukemia, but the most important lesson he taught him is that kids need to feel their parents’ love, and their parents don’t have to be alive to do that.

Getting to Zero G:

Always have something to bring to the table, our author’s dream has always been to experience weightlessness just like astronauts who flew to outer space, one day, NASA announced a program where they could let people experience this feeling in a chamber made specifically for that purpose, but unfortunately, he was already a teacher by then, and the program was only for students, so, instead of giving up, he searched for something to bring to the table, which was in that case, offering NASA to bring all of the information about their program on websites and send a short movie about it to the media, to which NASA agreed immediately.

I never made it to the NFL:

One lesson our author learned the hard way is that when you see yourself doing something badly and nobody’s bothering to tell you anymore, that’s a bad place to be. Nobody likes hearing about their flaws, but sometimes being criticized is essential for your personal development, if you do something wrong and no one ever tells you that you’re doing it wrong, you’ll never learn the correct way to do it.

Winning big:

Our author believed that if you wanted to win something, you have to win big, so, during his childhood, when he went to an amusement park, he could easily spot the coolest person there, and for a child, the coolest person was the one holding the biggest stuffed animal, so, these games became a challenge for him, and he won lots of huge stuffed animals, but now, on the stage, in his last lecture, those big stuffed animals weren’t important for him anymore, so, he told his audience that at the end of the lecture, if anyone wanted to have a piece of him, they could take any of those stuffed animals for free.

The park is open until 8 pm:

Our author’s cancer started in the summer of 2006, it started when he felt a slight but unexplained pain in his upper abdomen, his CT scans showed pancreatic cancer, it had the highest mortality rate of any cancer ever, yet, he didn’t give up, he told his doctors that he’s willing to do anything to survive it, after a few months, the CT scans showed that his cancer is gone, however, after 6-7 months, he discovered that cancer moved to his liver, and that he only had 6 months left, in a way, he was relieved, the wait was finally over, now he could prepare for whatever’s coming next.

Not everything has to be fixed:

One day, our author’s wife crashed her car with his car that was parked in the driveway, it was a stupid accident and she was really scared to tell him, when he came back home, she was being really sweet and made him dinner, when they were eating, she told him, and asked him if he wanted to go see the cars, however, his response made her calmer, he just told her let’s just finish our dinner first, and he even told her that the cars are still doing what they’re supposed to do, which is working, the cars still worked so there was no need to fix them.

Jai and Me:

Because the day before the last lecture had been Jai’s birthday, the author arranged to have a large birthday cake with a single candle waiting on a rolling table offstage. He began to explain to the audience that he hadn’t given Jai a proper birthday, and it was so wonderful how they applauded the idea and began singing. There are so many things he and Jai discussed as they worked to come to terms with what her life will be like after he’s gone. He reminded her that there’s nothing weak or selfish about taking some fraction of her day to be alone, recharging her batteries. And that also she’s going to make mistakes, and she has to just accept it. Most of all, he wanted Jai to be happy in the years ahead. As he urged Jai onto the stage after the audience sang her Happy Birthday, he hugged her tightly, and she whispered something in his ear: “please don’t die.”


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